"Female-centric travel is taking off"
Whether they are married or single, some women find getting away on women-only tours to be a refreshing way to travel the world
Cheryl McGuire, of Oil Springs, Ontario, has met friends, enjoyed exotic locales and had amazing new experiences because she’s made three trips with Broad Escapes. The 57-year-old has visited Austria and Bavaria; Ireland; and Vietnam and Cambodia and thoroughly enjoyed herself on all three trips.
She enjoys travelling with her husband, but when she wants to experience a location he’s not interested in she hits the road on her own or with her sister-inlaw. She is always in good company as part of a tour group organized by Bonnie Hinschberger. “The trips are so well organized and they deliver on promises. I have no worries about travelling by myself,” explains McGuire.
Successfully organizing trips for six years, Hinschberger saw a niche market that she could fill. Two years ago she partnered with Ellison Travel and Tours to form Broad Escapes. “Though group travel is common, with our groups a woman never feels like a third wheel. They can really let their hair down and relax,” she says.
The ages of the women-only groups range from 40 to 80, with the majority being 50 to 70 years old. Some women go on mother/daughter trips together as part of the group.
Hinschberger says that half her clientele are married women and half are single, widowed or divorced. “Women tend to be more adventurous, and some husbands don’t want to visit the same destinations as their wives.”
"The ages of the women-only groups range from 40 to 80, with the majority being 50 to 70 years old. Some women go on mother/daughter trips together as part of the group."
Hinschberger’s personal favourite destinations are Kenya and Peru. Of the former, she says, “I’ve always loved nature and seeing the wildlife is exciting for me. When I take the women to Kenya, they are buying the trip to go on safari but people they meet there make the true memory. They get involved in the village they visit, sponsoring children to attend school. It’s a real feel-good experience because you know you’re changing a person’s life.”
Deborah Rutherford, 61, of Toronto, has taken four female-centric trips and loved them more each time. First was a shopping trip to New York City, then a two-week trip to Russia, followed by a canoeing trip to Algonquin Park. Finally, she too went on a Kenya trip and agrees that it was a game changer for her. “I had an enriching experience in Africa,” says Rutherford.
Because her trips have been so varied, Rutherford says she feels that the women-only options made the experiences better for her. She’s looking forward to her next trip with Broad Escapes – to Peru later this year.
Kathy Hayes is from Toronto. The 70-year-old has also taken four women-only trips: Vietnam and Cambodia, Portugal, Morocco and Kenya. She notes that the safety measures built into the trip are one factor that keeps her coming back to Broad Escapes.
Since she’s single, she enjoys travelling with friends. When no one of her immediate acquaintance wants to journey to a destination she desires visiting, she’s pleased that Broad Escapes can match her up with a compatible roommate with their Roommate Matching Program. She says she’s made good friends as a result and is pleased with the cost savings as well, as she doesn’t have to pay the single supplement. “It’s fun to have someone to hash over the day with,” she adds.
“I would definitely recommend (going on women-only trips); just say ‘I’m going to do it,’” says Hayes.